Another positive result of the Sharia row is that pols can now mention the unmentionable – Muslim cousin marriage.
8 February 2008: A government minister has warned that inbreeding among immigrants is causing a surge in birth defects – comments likely to spark a new row over the place of Muslims in British society.
Phil Woolas, an environment minister, said the culture of arranged marriages between first cousins was the “elephant in the room”. Woolas, a former race relations minister, said: “If you have a child with your cousin the likelihood is there’ll be a genetic problem.”
The minister, whose views were supported by medical experts this weekend, said: “The issue we need to debate is first cousin marriages, whereby a lot of arranged marriages are with first cousins, and that produces lots of genetic problems in terms of disability [in children].”
Woolas emphasised the practice did not extend to all Muslim communities but was confined mainly to families originating from rural Pakistan. However, up to half of all marriages within these communities are estimated to involve first cousins.
Medical research suggests that while British Pakistanis are responsible for 3% of all births, they account for one in three British children born with genetic illnesses…
Woolas was supported by Ann Cryer, Labour MP for Keighley, who called for the NHS to do more to warn parents of the dangers of inbreeding…
“I have encountered cases of blindness and deafness. There was one poor girl who had to have an oxygen tank on her back and breathe from a hole in the front of her neck.
“The parents were warned they should not have any more children. But when the husband returned again from Pakistan, within months they had another child with exactly the same condition.”
Expect more of this – it’s harsh , but eventually it’ll encourage Muslims to start outbreeding like the rest of us.
UPDATE Feb 12
There’s more today:
British Pakistanis are “in denial” about the increased risks of birth defects among the children of married cousins, a Labour MP has claimed…
Mrs Cryer raised the issue two years ago after research showed that British Pakistanis were 13 times more likely to have children with disorders than the general population.
…Mrs Cryer said: “The vast majority of marriages in the Muslim community in Bradford, 80 per cent, are trans-continental. The vast majority of those are to cousins. Many of those do result in either infant mortality or in recessive disorders.”
The only dissent is pretty weak:
Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London, agreed that there was a higher risk of defects but drinking or smoking in pregnancy was “as bad if not worse”.
If the issue was an “elephant in the room”, it was a “small elephant” and in Bradford it involved just five out of 70 infant deaths, although the figure was still too high.
Prof Jones said: “Let’s bear in mind that families like the Rothschilds married their cousins frequently.”
Cousin marriages were quite common in Spain and in Muslim communities worldwide, he said.
Of course the existence of other damaging behavior doesn’t alter one jot the case against genetically damaging breeding customs in Islam. And it’s not infant deaths that concern us, sad though these are, but the ones who live and go on to harm society.